Modern Woman announce details of their debut single ‘Offerings’ via End of the Road Records.
The single, which is also the debut release from the new label arm of the British festival of the same name, was recorded and mixed by Shuta Shinoda (Anna Meredith, Jehnny Beth, Hot Chip) and mastered by Jason Mitchell (PJ Harvey, Aldous Harding, Dry Cleaning).
London based Modern Woman began life as the songwriting project of Sophie Harris, a literature graduate who started playing the songs solo at spoken word nights she ran. “I had a firm idea of the direction I wanted the project to go in, and I knew that couldn’t be achieved without a full band.” Harris says speaking of the band’s beginnings. “It was important to me to keep the tenderness and lyricism of folk music but blend this with heavier and weirder experimental elements.”.
Harris met David Denyer, an Anglo-German-Armenian composer by trade whose interests include Merzbow records and building his own instruments and pedals. The two started collaborating with Denyer playing and tampering with a whole array of homemade violins, synths, effects and percussion – including a battered wooden table with a metal colander nailed into it and jagged remnants of cymbals that take a pummeling throughout the band’s live show. To those beginnings they completed the line-up by adding Madrid-born bassist plus occasional saxophonist Juan Brint Gutiérrez and virtuoso drummer Adam Blackhurst.
The band’s music, still based around Harris’ songwriting, explores a diverse range of sounds drawing from their melting pot of influences from post-punk and 60s folk music to free-jazz and noise. Lyrical nods to myth and folklore sit amongst songs that range from poetic monologues, stripped back folk songs to the ferociously experimental.
“Offerings” as a title feels appropriate, being as it is an offering from the band that catalogues those diverse reference points, leading to a sound that feels distinctively their own. Propulsive and provocative, “Offerings”, is paired to a video directed by Sandra Ebert who had the following to say about the visuals: “The song’s lyrics about a voyeur leaving offerings for their neighbour definitely set the tone for the story. I wanted the video to match the tension within the song which starts off with this lingering feeling of uneasiness and then builds up to more and more intensity as the story progresses. The title “Offerings” invites you to think of worship imagery, but we didn’t want to interpret things in a direct way and more so hint to references of our visual influences such as The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky and other 70s surrealist cinema.”
On the themes of ‘Offerings’ Harris says; “I wanted to reflect on the primal experience of desire and how deeply rooted it is in everything we do. Deep under all yearnings are animalistic hankerings, obsessive perspectives and religious-like fixations.”
The band played out for the first few times in the months ahead of the pandemic, fervent word of mouth seeing them secure early shows alongside the likes of Dan Carey’s Scottibrains, Tiña and Stones Throw’s Automatic before lockdown stopped them cruelly in their tracks. They were however invited to play End of the Road’s streamed digital edition in 2020 which helped introduce the band to a wider audience outside of those smattering of gigs they’d played in pre-pandemic times and earned them early fans from influential peers like black midi and Squid.
End of the Road founder Simon Taffe says of the release; “As soon as we accidentally stumbled upon a Modern Woman live show, we were obsessed. They were so fully formed. We were stunned to discover they hadn’t even recorded a song.”
“Whilst the pandemic has been devastating for the live music industry as a whole, we also really felt for new bands and artists just starting out in their career. Artists who might get a bump from playing festivals like ours and the many other great events around the world, exposing them to a whole new audience and helping them build long lasting fan bases. We wanted to start a label as a way to showcase the new bands we love to our loyal following of music fans, and we’re ecstatic to be working with Modern Woman on their first release.”
The band have wasted no time lining up further shows, and curious listeners will be able to see the band live on the following dates: